Problem Cycling

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by schmartiepantz, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. schmartiepantz

    schmartiepantzNew MemberMember


    I've tried cycling a 30 gallon tank with dry rock, using the red sea reef mature starter kit. While doing this, I've also been measuring the water parameters. I never got an ammonia reading, but both my nitrite and nitrate reading were high, 5, and 100 respectively.

    This was a terrible experience and the tank now looks awful (see pictures). There's tons of green algae everywhere.

    What do I do next?
    Do I restart the tank completely?
    Should I use live rock this time?

    Thanks in advance!

    Attached Files:

  2. LadyArtemis

    LadyArtemisValued MemberMember

    Hi! Is this your first time doing saltwater or do you have other salt tanks? I have never cycled a tank with the kit and have always used live rock. Did you add fish food or ammonia to get the cycle going? This probably could be salvaged but it’s going to probably take longer to get it to where it should be than just starting over with live rock imho.

    30 is a smaller volume for salt and was always a tricky one for me. Tell us more about your setup. What kind of filtration are you using, do you have a protein skimmer, etc.
  3. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    How long are you running the lights? During the first couple of weeks I go without lights and then after that no more than 8 hours max. Also I recommend looking at this as it covers a number of the newbie mistakes people make and bad habits developed by people going from freshwater to saltwater:

  4. OP

    schmartiepantzNew MemberMember

    Thank you for your replying. Yes, this is my first saltwater tank, and I started with dead rock to avoid hitch hikers. In hindsight, that was maybe not the smartest decision. I cycled the tank using the instuctions in the kit, and used a bunch of different substances in the tank. i don't know what the bottles contained, because they were labeled as "bacteria food" and "algae remover" etc. I did a skimmerless setup, but I think I will start over completely, this time with live rock, and using a dead shrimp as ammonia source
  5. xiholdtruex

    xiholdtruexWell Known MemberMember

    This is fine, I would not restart you will always have a uglies stage which will level out. What I would do is do a 100% wc and monitor levels after a couple of days it could just be residuals of what you have been adding. when I started my salty tank I used live sand and dry reef saver rock. I was battling nitrites and nitrates even with no dosing. turned out my sand was full of gunk. This was after cycling. I could grab a handful of sand and drop it and the tank would cloud up. Battled all sorts of algae. Algae is not a bad thing in the beginning it shows the tank has life.

    You could mix some salt water get a few tub a wares and grab each rock and scrub it clean and rinse then place in a bucket or tank with clean water. Than rinse the sand with fresh water clean. before putting back in you tank do the last rinse with salt water. re assembled and refill with new water and some seachem prime and you will preserve the cycle you created.

    If you restart the cycle I would recommend using ammonia. If you use a shrimp you will be introducing a phosphate and nutrient storm which is not clean and may cause issues down the line.
  6. RSababady

    RSababadyWell Known MemberMember

    I have no experience with saltwater tanks, but I watched the video - Brilliant. This should be a must watch for everyone who wants to move from fresh to salt water fish keeping.
  7. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks. I started salty but did tons of research before setting up with my first tank and have had to do the facepalm on more than a few freshwater folks trying to convert over. After having countless times having to put people on the right track because they are trying to approach saltwater with a freshwater setup mentality, I am more and more convinced that the adage that you should do freshwater before you do saltwater is false. Not saying no one should start with freshwater, just saying that it really doesn't prepare you at all for saltwater and there is no amount of freshwater experience that is a substitute for doing solid research into saltwater before setting up your first salty tank. So I made a list of common mistakes that folks make and compiled them in the video mentioned above.
  8. Johnson772

    Johnson772New MemberMember

    I set my tank up with dry rock as well. Used live sand from the lfs and rock ordered online. My tank did the same thing all green algae covering 100% of rock and glass. At first I was upset and stressed as well. I brushed it with a toothbrush almost everyday but it just came back! Anyways it eventually all faded away but then came the diatom phase! Brown everywhere it looked even worse! Brushed all that off but it was back before the day was through. Again eventually that faded as well. Long way of saying that it’s a normal part of cycling with dry rock to me. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. I now work with a company that sells and sets up saltwater tanks. Iv set up too many tanks to count at this point and I’d say 90% of ones using dry rock go through this. Using live rock just skips this “ugly” phase but you get no hitchhikers. Which to me is worth it.

    Don’t worry you’ve done nothing wrong all good things come in due time. :)